Thursday, March 3, 2016

Candy Cane Cupcake Muffins

Candy Cane Cupcake Muffins

Now that Spring is just around the corner, I thought it was time to finally take away all the candy canes that had been sitting in jars and vases in my living room.  But I didn't want to throw them away, and I didn't want my kids to have a candy fest over the weekend, so what did I do?  I made peppermint candy cane "sugar"!  Granted, it has red dye, plain white sugar, corn syrup, and plenty of other unhealthy ingredients, but not everything has to be perfect, and not tossing something usable into the garbage has to count for something.  I have decorated cookies with ground up candy canes before, (Peppermint Sugar Cookie Pinwheels), but I have never actually used the candy canes as the only sweetener. So this was definitely a fun little experiment, and something that I could also use if needed in other mint recipes when I don't have the (much healthier) fresh mint ingredient on hand (Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies). The smell when grinding up the candy canes was great enough, but the smell of these muffins in the oven was even better.  And since they are full of whole wheat flour (fiber, protein), and heart healthy canola oil, they are a good breakfast treat, or afternoon snack.  I just enjoyed mine with a cup of tea and a small dish of raw walnuts. Tasted amazing. And a little bit like Winter, because technically, it still is!

Candy Cane Cupcake Muffins
Candy Canes!

2 1/2 C. organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 C. organic white flour
2 T. ground flax seed
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. (+ 1/2 C.) ground up candy cane sugar
   (about 24 full size candy canes)
1 C. organic canola oil
4 organic eggs
1 1/2 C. organic milk
1 T. pure vanilla extract

Mix together the flours, flax seed, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  In a food processor, grind up about 25 full size peppermint candy canes. (It should make about 2 C. of sugar) Mix 1 1/2 C. of the sugar into the dry mix and then slowly add in the oil, eggs, milk and vanilla, and stir until thoroughly combined.  Spoon the batter into 18 paper lined cupcake holders. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on the tops of all the cupcakes, and bake at 350F for 20 - 25 minutes.  Cool completely and then store in an air tight container for a couple of days, or in the freezer for months.

ready to put into the pans

adding the sugar topping

ready to bake

hot from the oven

close up in pan

cooling off

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